A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bob Feller

Bob Feller died before this blog resurrected. We would have loved to write an obituary for him and all that he did for the Major Leagues, the Negro Leagues, and America when he gave up 1942-1944 to serve in the Navy WITHOUT A REGRET IN THE WORLD. His stats are still beautiful. His introduction of Satchel Paige, though not without controversy for his business sense in the whites vs. blacks games, made it possible for Paige to join him in 1948. Even more than that, it made it possible for Jackie Robinson to make it possible for Satchel.
After a partial season in 1945, he was 26-15 with 348 strikeouts and a 2.18 ERA in 1946. His WHIP was 1.158, and he was a mad man in all aspects of the world. Here was a guy looking to pick up where he left off, and dominate, he did. There was no Cy Young, so he couldn't win that, but he was 6th in the MVP vote. He lost out that year to Ted Williams who also was looking to rebound from the war years, and he was a little lower in ERA to Hal Newhouser, but all in all, was there a better pitcher that year? Detroit was in 2nd place at 92 and 62, while Cleveland was in 6th at 68 and 86. Let's put 26 wins a piece and Feller's 6 more losses into perspective. Feller had 38% of his team's wins! Newhouser was great with 28%, but let's do the math and figure out what a bad defense does.
Feller's losses that year:
2-3 (hard luck)
2-4 (borderline)
2-6 (deserved it)
2-8 (deserved it)
0-1 (1 stinking run for a no decision, at least?!!)
1-9 (deserved it)
5-7 (no decision)
0-2 (hard luck no decision)
0-1 (1 stinking run for a no decision, at least?!!)
1-4 (borderline)
4-5 (deserved it)
6-8 (lucky no decision)
0-4 (borderline)
1-4 (borderline)
0-10 (deserved it)
0-2 (hard luck)
0-3 (hard luck)
1-4 (borderline)
5 of those losses are clearly deserved.
1 no decision was lucky since it turned into a slugfest.
5 of those calls are borderline.
4 of those games were hard luck
2 more were just PURE Walter Johnson-esque betrayal (1-0 losses). This is a man who went 36 complete games and 10 shut outs over the year. Where is the love?
Unfortunately, he passed away on December 15th.
Today, another great player died.
And for that, we need to pay respect for our former greats.
No disrespect to Harmon Killebrew, who died today, but I wrote his obituary of statistics here when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Over the weekend, he went into hospice, and this afternoon, a great man passed away.
In honor of the 573 "home runs that Harmon had" and 1 MVP award, let the Baseball Project sing. Harmon made Minnesota proud from 1961 to 1974.
Hopefully, the tributes on MLBTV and the news will let other people know about this great Hall of Famer who put up a lot of jacks when they still meant something.

No comments:

Post a Comment